Title: Conservation Agriculture Effects and Policy Support to Mitigate Soil Degradation in Midi-Pyrénées (France)
Citation: LAND DEGRADATION & DEVELOPMENT vol. 22 no. 1 p. 70-83
Publication Year: 2011
JRC N°: JRC58826
ISSN: 1085-3278
URI: http://onlinelibrary.wiley.com/doi/10.1002/ldr.1021/abstract
DOI: 10.1002/ldr.1021
Type: Articles in periodicals and books
Abstract: This paper draws on the results of a case study within the SoCo project and aims to assess the benefits and constraints in the application of conservation agriculture methods in Midi-Pyrénées, France, along with an evaluation of the coherence of the policy framework towards the protection of soil resources. Inappropriate agricultural practices, under peculiar climate, terrain and soil conditions, have contributed to make erosion the main soil degradation phenomenon in Midi-Pyrénées, particularly under spring crops. The decrease of carbon stock is also a relevant issue. Among the various techniques applied by local farmers to reduce the impact of soil degradation on their land, conservation agriculture appears popular and was therefore analyzed in detail. No specific legislation on soil protection is currently available in France, while the present agri-environmental policy, including the Rural Development Plan and the cross compliance measures, focuses mainly on water quality and biodiversity. A mixed methodological approach was used consisting of a literature review on the status of soils, of the characteristics of conservation agriculture practices and of the soil-related policies in force. Semi-structured interviews with selected stakeholders on the use of soil conservation techniques and on soil legislation allowed a broader discussion of the study results. The research suggests that conservation agriculture can effectively contribute to mitigate soil degradation in Midi-Pyrénées, although some implementation drawbacks seem to limit its wider use mainly due to lack of a specific support. Therefore, a better targeting of existing policies would be desirable for an improved protection of soil resources.
JRC Directorate:Sustainable Resources

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